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mark_vanorder
Community Member

Can you display the Announcement Stream in a Discussion or on a separate page?

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Is there a way to push just the Announcement stream into a Discussion or to a separate Page?

If you look at the Announcement page it consists of:

  • A Header section at the top of the page
  • The extreme left Canvas global access bar
  • The left hand course menu 
  • The central section
    • Includes search feature
    • RSS & New Announcements
    • The Announcement list
  • Right column with Add External Feed

I would like to use just the part I'm calling "the center section" in either a Discussion or a Page. 

1 Solution
Shar
Community Champion

Sure!

<p><a title="Announcement List" href="https://CANVASURL/courses/1045344/announcements">Announcement List</a></p>
<p><iframe src="https://CANVASURL/courses/1045344/announcements?embedded=true" width="98%" height="500"></iframe></p>

I grabbed the Announcement List link from the Content picker in the Editor so I could see the URL for the iframe source. And then I figured it wouldn't hurt to have that direct link there in case someone has trouble seeing the iframe embed.

Cheers - Shar

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21 Replies
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

This isn’t a built in feature in Canvas, but might be possible with some back end programming. That is way beyond my level of expertise though so I’ll share this with the https://community.canvaslms.com/groups/canvas-developers?sr=search&searchId=5ed7eb6c-af6e-4b8f-9f68-...‌ to see if they can help. 

Hi Kona,

I've played with this extensively to try to make it work. It would be cool if the Canvas team made this functionality available. I can use an iframe to make the announcement page visible in a discussion, The issue is the 2 left-hand menu bars take up a lot of space and look strange. On mobile, it is extremely annoying and ugly - to the extent that it is unusable.

I'm trying to create an interactive newsletter for Marketing majors at our school. Canvas is soooo close to being a perfect platform. Students are already there; and, I can push short-form, real-time content. The Announcement feed is the biggest obstacle. My current plan is to replace Announcements with a WordPress blog...but I'd much prefer to stay 100% Canvas.

I've made this studio site public. It's still in really crude shape (3 weeks worth of fitting in between teaching) but you can probably get a sense of what I'm trying to do. Marketing Newsletter - The Marketing Mix 

Of course the real wish list is bigger. There are 3 target audiences for this studio (what can I say, I'm a Marketer:) - current Marketing students, our recruiters and their prospective students, graduates and prospective employers. Except for the Announcements issue, I can get everything working nicely for current students. The other 2 audiences are issues due to Canvas security. I can mostly get around the issue for graduates by putting their portfolios on a separate page with external visibility (though they still lose access to showing employers other forms of engagement.) The recruiter issue is more problematic. They would like to be able to show prospective students some of the cool stuff we do (not much in the studio yet.) I can give the recruiters access for demos but it requires their presence which doesn't scale well.

I appreciate the need for security, and FERPA protection, but it would be nice if non-graded studio sites provided toggles to turn visibility on/off for all components. The byzantine, "graded-discussion", Syllabus/Assignment visibility path for discussions is particularly challenging. 

Of course our Dean wants everything done yesterday...me too.

Thanks so much for getting back to me! Fingers crossed on the Announcement feed.

All the best,

Mark

Shar
Community Champion

Hi  @mark_vanorder !

I've got good news for you, you can get rid of that second set of course navigation on the embedded page with a nifty parameter ?embedded=true. It'll still look a little funny on your page, but should work well for students. H2's come out a little differently because it's embedded.

Canvas page with embedded canvas announcements.

Good luck,
Cheers - Shar

Hi Sharmaine,

This is very encouraging. Do you mind sharing the HTML string with the iframe code that shows how you turned on the embedded parameter?

Thanks so much!

Mark

Shar
Community Champion

Sure!

<p><a title="Announcement List" href="https://CANVASURL/courses/1045344/announcements">Announcement List</a></p>
<p><iframe src="https://CANVASURL/courses/1045344/announcements?embedded=true" width="98%" height="500"></iframe></p>

I grabbed the Announcement List link from the Content picker in the Editor so I could see the URL for the iframe source. And then I figured it wouldn't hurt to have that direct link there in case someone has trouble seeing the iframe embed.

Cheers - Shar

Shar
Community Champion

I'd also like to ping laurakgibbs‌ as she's done some really interesting things with iframes and outside of Canvas sources. I know you want to keep it 100% Canvas, but you don't have to. There's so much more that you can bring into Canvas and really make a dynamic newsletter.

Cheers - Shar

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

Thanks for the ping ishar-uw‌, and hi  @mark_vanorder ‌! I would second what Sharmaine said about considering the blog option. I'm not sure why there is any reason to prefer a 100% Canvas solution when it seems like a blog would give you the kind of formatting control you want to have, while probably also having lots of other advantages also (doing content management is so much easier in a blog, content is much easier to reuse than in Canvas, etc.).

I would also second the use of a blog just to emphasize to students what it means to craft something that you know is available for public consumption beyond the class since it sounds like you are encouraging your students to do the same with their portfolios and other coursework: there is work they do inside the class, but also work they are sharing, purposefully, with an audience beyond that class. If they see you using a platform like WordPress which can appear in Canvas AND can be accessed outside Canvas, that is a way to get them used to that same idea also.

That's a big reason why I prefer blogs as much content vehicle: I blog, and my students blog also. That means every time I do the announcements using a blogging tool (or any other content that I publish with a blog platform), I am modeling that practice for them. By using Canvas, I am not modeling anything that is of use to my students, but when I use real tools (for me that means blogs, Twitter, Diigo, GoogleDocs, plus a class wiki), then I am helping them learn about those tools.

Especially in a class for Marketing majors, I would guess that they would benefit enormously from seeing good use of social media: blogs, Twitter, etc. etc. ... far more than they benefit from seeing a Canvas hack. 🙂

I keep my classes open so you can see how I embed an announcements blog as my course homepage. The blog has the additional advantage for me of sharing content across classes; I use the same announcements blog for my India class and for my Myth class; blog once — display twice (well, three times; two instances of one class, and one instance of the other):

Myth.MythFolklore.net

India.MythFolklore.net

I'm a big fan of dynamic content, esp. randomizers, and it's just easier to manage javascripts inside a blog than hacking around in Canvas. So, for example, in the blog sidebar that's a random growth mindset cat; you'll almost certainly see a different cat when you click on one of those course links and the page loads. My goal is for students to see new announcements every day AND to see new cats every time they pass through the homepage even multiple times per day. Let there be newness! 🙂

screenshot of class announcements

Boy thanks to everyone for such a rich conversation! I really appreciate all the discussion, insights and learning. I'm new to the community and it was an awesome welcome.

My original motivation was to "simplify" life by having only one tool to administer. Turns out, we already have a WordPress site that never really got much TLC. After your input I think I will repurpose it as our Announcements function and stuff it into a Canvas feed. I think I will also look for a good WP calendar plugin to manage our Events page. Does anyone have a WordPress calendar they particularly like?

Thanks again!

All the best,

Mark

Just a quick guess: you might want to embed the blog rather than deliver it by RSS. I'm not sure what kind of media support there is in the Canvas RSS aggregator, but if it's anything like the Canvas Twitter app (the one you can access via the rich text editor), you will lose all the graphics and video. At least with my students, if something doesn't have an image, the odds of them even noticing it plummet to about zero. One of the great things about blogs is that they are very good at supporting media and other embedded content, including embedded dynamic content (javascript) that Canvas does not handle well unless it is coming in via an iframe.

Hi Laura,

My plan was to embed the blog...just got a little sloppy with wording. Thanks!

As a WordPress admin for a large school district, I can give you a recommendation as to what not to use for your events page. We have implemented The Events Calendar by Modern Tribe on 80 sites and have been very disappointed with the experience. We are so aggravated by the constant headache of it that we are currently undertaking the very large task of replacing it with something else on all 80 production sites. I don't have a good recommendation yet as we are just starting this transition. Just wanted to save others the headache.

James
Community Champion

That's a lot easier than the recommendation I started to give to rebuild the content based on the API but deleted because I had other things to work on, ishar-uw. I was throwing it into one of those "you learn something new everyday, most of which you hope you never have to use" categories.

Then I looked into it further. I would not recommend  @mark_vanorder  using it.  The embedded page will look reasonable, but if a student clicks on a link within the iframe, then it opens up Canvas, without the embedded=true query parameter, and now you have the Canvas navigation within an iframe. 

Here's the code I put on my page. I copied the URL for the announcements page, the protocol and hostname are not required as the relative URL will work, but can include them as well. I will admit that I try really hard not to use iframes, although they are useful for sandboxing pages, like on SpeedGrader. That means that there may be a better way than setting the width to 100% and the height to some random but large-enough value. I do not know how that will play inside Mobile.

<p><iframe src="/courses/896851/announcements?embedded=true" width="100%" height="640"></iframe></p>

Here is my embedded page

258950_pastedImage_4.png

Now here is what it looks like when I click on the first announcement link

258951_pastedImage_5.png

By the way, embedding the content like this also counts as an access in the access report. Announcements Page is that embedded the Course Announcements. That may or may not matter to people.

258952_pastedImage_8.png

So I'll go back to what I started to write in my original post that I deleted before sending and say it might be better to try and fetch the content through the API and then recreate it, possibly using an LTI.

dmurphy4
New Member

Hello all, sorry to resurrect an old thread...

I'm a 9-12 teacher who has been gradually increasing my use of Canvas since approximately January. I went all-in this August and will never look back. I consider myself pretty adept at technology (I was pretty darn confident with Moodle), but it's been a while since I've had the time to devote to an LMS...that whole darn teaching thing got in the way for 8 years Smiley Happy

Anyway, Canvas is a game-changer for my classroom.

To the point:  How do K-12 teachers accommodate parents' needs to view their students' Canvas accounts, without giving parents the ability to submit/modify assignments or send messages under their student's name Smiley Happy?  At a minimum, I would like to be able to publish each day's Canvas announcement (and ideally the all of the recent ones, too) to an external site. It would need to be public, with no login required. I think an iframe would *probably* work, though I appreciate other and especially mobile-friendly ideas. Transparency with parents is ideal. It is not necessary that they be able to see any files/assignments/etc which are linked in the announcement -- just what was done during class that day, and what needs to be done for homework.

In a perfect world, I would be able to grant parents access to view everything in their student's Canvas for my course, without modifying it in any way. If this exists, I have not found it yet.

If anyone could kindly point me toward any ideas or existing discussion posts, I would be very appreciative!

0 Kudos

Hi  @dmurphy4 ‌! Is the idea that you need something more than what the Parent app offers? I teach in higher ed, so I don't use the Parent app and I don't know much about it:

https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10718-67952620813 

My school has configured Canvas so that I can make my classes open, and maybe that would work for you too. All my Canvas classes are set up to be open with a simple URL, like my actual classes with students in them:

Myth-Folklore

https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/84558/external_tools/6273And also the resource classes I have created to share teaching materials with others:

Twitter4Canvas 

Being able to create open classes is one of my favorite things about Canvas! We could not do that with our old LMS (D2L Brightspace).

Hi, Laura Gibbs!

I'm surprised you had enough (Gibbs) free energy to reply at such a late hour. (sorry, totally awful chemistry joke)

I had incorrectly assumed the "observer" role meant someone who could view the activity on ALL students within a course. My district initially invited just a few teachers to Canvas, with no training -- so we're kind of learning as we go, for better and for worse -- but it's really cool to see how quickly fellow teachers are adopting it (new tech on their own volition, for once!) once they see what it can do.

So anyway, the Observer role is perfect for letting parents/guardians/tutors/etc view the activity of a single student, while eliminating (well, reducing) the chance that that person will submit work and/or send messages as if they were the student. (sigh.)

Thanks again Laura. Might anyone have an answer of how to automatically post my Canvas announcements/thread to an external site, e-mail group, anything really, without requiring login? I understand that the links to assignments/files on Canvas would still require a login, which is fine… I'm tempted to try something connecting Canvas notifications to Gmail to IFTTT (really useful site!) but I would prefer to reduce the clunkiness/fragility as much as possible...

0 Kudos

Ha ha, I remember that Gibbs from high school chemistry.

Anyway, if a course is open, you can see files and such WITHOUT a log-in; here's a file in my Twitter4Canvas course, which I've made open:

https://canvas.ou.edu/courses/56095/files?preview=5682010 

It's a weird URL, but it is indeed a URL that you can share with people; that's an HTML file uploaded into the Files area of a Canvas course (it happens to show a Twitter feedback because it's an HTML file containing a Twitter widget). But anyway, it is a file. 🙂

Again, I'm not sure if your school allows open courses, or if it would fully meet your needs, but it is a powerful option.

I'm guessing Canvas Announcements also have linkable URLs like that, but since I don't use Canvas Announcements, I'm not sure.

0 Kudos
Shar
Community Champion

Hi Daniel Murphy,

The easiest way I know to have the announcements show up someplace else automagically is to subscribe to them as Feeds that can be aggregated in your favorite reader. Inoreader is a favorite of a certain friendly Fox in Socks laurakgibbs

But setting up the feeds may be too techie for your parents if they are not so inclined. You maybe be able to just email them the instructions: How do I subscribe to the Announcements RSS feed as a student? https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10123-4152719662 

Cheers - Shar

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

So nice to see you playing in here again, Sharmaine!

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

Ohhhh, now that's handy: I did not know the announcements had their own RSS feed.

If they do, it is indeed possible to subscribe to them with Inoreader, and set up a public page.

Although I'm a bit surprised: is the feed really open without requiring a log-in?

Anyway, if somebody has an RSS feed, supply it here, and I'll write up a quick 1-2-3 about how to turn that automatically into a linkable webpage with Inoreader. That would be my pleasure in fact! 🙂

Hello Laura and Sharmaine,

Thank you for your suggestions. I was able to follow the instructions at How

do I subscribe to the Announcements RSS feed as a student?

<https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10657-4212717327> to obtain the

RSS/atom URL for my Canvas announcement feed. Plugging that into a quick

online reader like Feedbucket seemed to work, even in a browser where I was

not logged in to Canvas. So, yes, it appears that the announcements are

public even when the course is private.

I tried clicking links in my announcement to attachments and pages in my

Canvas site, but they redirected to the Feedbucket site; not sure whether

that is the fault of Feedbucket or Canvas. Hopefully clicking an

attachment/Canvas page link in an announcement would redirect to a Canvas

login page!

I will give Inoreader a try. Ideally I'd like to find the simplest thing to

embed (not likely in the new Google Sites) or a clean link with very little

advertising, etc.

Thanks again all

--

*All mail correspondence to and from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

is subject to the North Carolina Public Records Law, which may result in

monitoring and disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.*

Inoreader offers an HTML link you can use directly, or you can embed; that's how I get all my external blog content (my own blog, students' blogs, plus other RSS like Diigo) back into Canvas.

In Inoreader, subscribe to the feed.

Put the feed in a folder.

Click Folder Settings.

Go to Folder Information.

Click Export On.

Click HTML click. 

You can then customize as needed with the dialogue box you see there.

Inoreader HTML clips dialogue box

Here's an HTML clip, magazine view (not full view, which is also available), of my students' blogs:

https://www.inoreader.com/stream/user/1005987531/tag/OU%20MythFolklore%20F15/view/html?cs=m 

https://www.inoreader.com/stream/user/1005987531/tag/OU%20BothClasses%20F15/view/html?cs=mYou can share that link as it is, or embed it anywhere with iframe.

When I embed it in a Canvas course it looks like this:

Blog Stream: Myth-Folklore section 995 - Fall 2018